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The Most Sophisticated People Lived Here

Travelers Today       By    Chiqui Guyjoco

Updated: Apr 14, 2017 05:39 AM EDT

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The inhabitants of Orkney, Scotland, 5,000 years ago could have been the most sophisticated people who ever existed. Archaeologists have reasons to believe that recent excavations in the area could re-write prehistory books.

Senior Project Manager Nick Card of the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology revealed that the Neolithic people in the Orkney archipelago off of Scotland's northern coast had a "sophisticated society." They had religion, art, home decorations, "formed communities with complex structures," managed farms and knew architecture—all these even before the discovery of metal. They were also "masters of fire" and masters of their environment, environmentalist Malcolm Handoll of Five Senses Eco-Tours told BBC, as he explained that these masteries "allowed them the concept of organised, communal, surplus time - time to erect standing stones, time to create, time to be social."

Handoll works as a bushcraft instructor at Five Senses that gives travelers the chance to experience just how it was to live as one of the most sophisticated people in prehistory. His clients initially start out fearful once they're out in the wild, with no shoes or any phone. "But as they learn new skills and work together, they become more genuinely social again and begin to understand that learning how people lived in the past can help them make sense of how we're living today."

The number of Stone Age excavations in Orkney makes it an archaeological gold mine that nestles the Ness of Brodgar; the stone circle as old as Stonehenge and known as Ring of Brodgar; the Stone of Stenness, which is two centuries older; the Barnhouse Settlement inhabited 5,100 years ago; the 3,000 B.C. prehistoric chambered tomb of Maeshow; and the prehistoric village of Skara Bae. The houses at Skara Bae revealed that the Neolithic people built house insulations and pieces of furniture like built-in stone dressers and stone box beds. Card told BBC that the discoveries proved they "were no different from us. They were just as inventive - and in some ways more inventive" or maybe just the most sophisticated people who ever lived.

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